Agudath Israel of America and others have sent multiple alerts delineating hygiene, social distancing, and other steps that every community, shul, school, and individual should implement to minimize their risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19 (coronavirus). Those steps should continue to be followed.
However, with COVID-19, a potentially deadly disease, continuing to spread rapidly throughout the United States and beyond, infectious disease specialists are now strongly recommending extreme measures to severely limit all social or communal gatherings, including closing shuls and schools. These necessary, preventative steps deserve strong consideration, even in communities that have not experienced appreciable incidences of COVID-19. The tipping point has been reached.
· For schools that have closed, all efforts should be made to encourage distance learning. Now is the time to intensify tefillah and limud haTorah, not diminish it.
· Where shuls have closed, people should not unsafely congregate in house minyanim, as this will defeat the purpose.
· Mikvaos need not close, but should enhance their cleaning protocols, and should not include any congregating. A woman who exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 should not attend the mikvah before consulting her doctor and Rav.
Above all else, we should intensify our tefillos to the Rofei Chol Bosor. Sometimes we only appreciate things after they are taken from us. May He lift this plague from the world, safeguard our health, and allow us to serve Him properly.